Early testing: DMM Shadow and DMM Phantom Quickdraws.
Venue: Rollarit, near Helsinki. Conditions: finger numbingly cold. Rounds of hotaches endured: 2 (fortunately minor). Routes climbed: 5. Nuts placed: about 20. Bolts clipped: 8. Falls taken: 1.
So I finally got the chance to use these new quickdraws after a couple of weeks of weather-enforced idleness. In brief, the Phantoms are designed with one thing in mind: being the absolutely lightest possible usable karabiner available. The Shadows are solid gate alternative for a generation of climbers who have become used to lightweight wire gate krabs.
For most of us punters the weight of the gear isn't the thing that is going to stop us from getting up a route or not, but for anyone who has to carry their rack in a pack for a couple of hours uphill, you'll take my point. Secondly, when you are pushing your grade on long mountain or sea cliff pitches, lighter gear helps you carry your courage with you; allowing you to take those extra pieces that might be the difference between doing the crux, or backing down psyched out by it.
So is there anything wrong with the Phantom? It is small, but no smaller than the excellent, widely-used (including by me) and significantly heavier Black Diamond Neutrino. Some people won't like it for its size, but many others won't care. Once I use the Phantoms more, including with gloves on ice climbing, I'll have a firmer opinion on the size issue. The other only obvious thing is that they don't have any shrouding around the gate. What I imagine is going to be the Phantoms main competitor, the BD Oz, does; but then it weighs 2 grammes more. I've noticed that clipped to micro cams or small nuts in narrow cracks, shrouding by the gate can lessen the chance of the gate being pushed open by the rock, but again it is one of those marginal things and I'll need to use them more to decide whether this matters to me or not.
Strength (Minor-Axis): 7kn
Rope Bearing Surface Width:9.0mm
Catalogue no: A318
The Phantom carabiner costs £7.50 and is also available as a quickdraw in various lengths: 12 cm is £15.00, 18cm is £15.50 and 25cm is £16.00.
Catalogue no: NoDA306-12
Product: Shadow Quickdraw
Price: ~ £15.00.
More details at the DMM website